The Duchess of Cambridge has recorded a video message asking parents to talk more openly about the issue of children’s mental health.
It was filmed to launch the UK’s first Children’s Mental Health Week run by one of the charities Kate supports, Place2Be, which offers counselling and support in schools.
In the video she says: “We need to help young people and their parents to understand it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
“A child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health and deserves the same quality of support.
“No one would feel embarrassed about seeking help for a child if they broke their arm, and we really should be equally ready to support a child coping with emotional difficulties.”
She adds: “Both William and I sincerely believe that early action can prevent problems in childhood from turning into larger ones later in life.”
Research carried out by Place2Be and YouGov found almost a third (30%) of parents admit they would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counselling in school.
One in five parents would not encourage their child to take up counselling, even if they asked for it.
The research showed it is fathers who are more likely to feel embarrassed.
Catherine Roche, the chief executive officer of Place2Be said: “By raising awareness of the benefits of getting support early for mental health issues, we hope to change attitudes and help reduce the risk of more complex and serious problems when those children reach adulthood.
“We’d encourage all parents and carers to take a look at the ideas and tips on our website about how to talk to children about their mental health today.”
While the Duchess is soon to be a mother-of-two, with her second child due in April, a big focus of her charity work is helping children affected by addiction, neglect and other issues related to trauma.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: “As Royal patron of Place2Be The Duchess of Cambridge is a committed champion of issues related to children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.
“The Duchess of Cambridge is especially concerned with early intervention mental health support for young people, to tackle these issues at the earliest possible stage, so that children have the brightest possible futures, as they deserve.”